I remember in a past life with a past company, the top Executives sat in a circle around the wooden table in the main conference room one morning. We needed to improve manufacturing lead times, quality, overall product sales, and expenses. They were all tied together, sure, as they are in every business. But where should we throw money and resources at to get the most value? One of the top executives, whom was way past his prime and worked about 3 hours per day, leaned back in his chair and asked a question I will always remember: “What is our core competency? What are we best at?”
At that company, the answer was easy. We were an engineering company, trying to pretend we were a manufacturing company. Our manufacturing costs were too high, our lead times were too long, and our quality was terrible. The strategy session was expected to last 2 whole days, and we basically had the strategy confirmed in 15 minutes. We were an engineering company, and we would outsource the manufacturing. Two calendar years later, the company’s outlook had shifted dramatically, and we were headed to the moon.
I am now working at Tandem Solar Systems, a top solar distributor and wholesaler. Our core competency is solar procurement, and we do it very well. We staff a team of educated engineers and supply chain experts that work as Sales people – not the other way around (like most of our competition). Our customers are solar installers (even DIY), many with hundreds or more installations under their belts. I am proud to say that I have done ONE complete solar installation, as I am afraid of heights and get frightened easily on a roof. So, although I can do an installation, it is definitely not my strength. I am guessing, if you are reading this, you are a better installer than me. So what do you spend your days doing? Ideally, it would be 80% design/ installations and 20% admin work. But what is it, really? I emailed one of our solar friends, a great installer named Eric, and asked what he did today. This was his reply:
“We had an install in the Valley today. We got to the site and were short on rails and had to go back to the shop. I had to make a couple calls at the shop, paid a bill, and then went back to the site. Nothing went right. The CDD wasn’t working at first and had to troubleshoot. Finished the job at 6:00pm and had to order material for a job Thursday. I finished another design for a customer, and got home about 8:00pm. How was your day sitting on your ass, Greg?”
I would say this day, a RANDOM day I happened to ask, was 50% installation and 50% admin… at best. Eric likes to stock his supplies and is a bit of a micro-manager (Hi Eric.. you are), but he spends too much of his time doing “stuff” that is not his strength. Anyway, you are probably thinking, “great story, but get to the point, Greg.” This is the point, though. Let Tandem Solar do the “stuff” for you.
What is solar procurement, and how does it make your business more productive?
- Adequate Supply of Inventory at All Times – Installers have different preferences with materials on the job site, so we have a variety of stock. If you love it and we do not have it, we will get it.
- Pricing on Par With Industry – We maintain direct relationships with many suppliers and work them on pricing frequently. This is something an installer doesn’t want to do and shouldn’t have to.
- On Time Delivery – Tell us where you want it and when you want it, and we will do the rest. Our logistics team pinpoints delivery dates/ times to help you be most productive. Those trips back and forth to the shop are eliminated. Those days watching for freight trucks is eliminated. Everything is there when you need it, whether at your shop or the job site.
- Technical Support – Our staff is well trained, and can answer many questions. If they are unsure, we have onsite engineering support. And if they are unsure (rare), we have excellent relationships with the manufacturers and can get answers quickly. This means no more waiting on hold and pushing “3” for technical support anymore.
- Customer Service – In a nutshell, we are here for you. Our customer service will be noticeable the first time you work with us. Let us prove it to you. We will.
The hardest thing to do as a business owner is to know when to release some of the responsibilities. We are here to make that transition as easy as possible. One phone call – tell us what you want, where you want it, when you want it, and that’s it. You do not have to worry about getting the best deal, or ensuring stock is available. All those worries are gone when you use Tandem Solar as your solar procurement specialist. Let us prove it to you today.